We’re on to the AFC and NFC Championship Games. The four best teams are left, and so now it becomes harder and harder each week to find the little things that could make the difference between winning and losing.
One thing that hasa changed this postseason is the number of penalties being called. During the regular season we had 16 1/2 penalties per game. During the Wild Card games it was 11 1/2. Last weekend we were down to 9 1/2, and the winning teams were called for an average of just 3 1/2! We’re not necessarily looking for more flags, but there were some egregious misses in these games and it set a different tone on the field. No matter what time of year it is, players and coaches just want the calls to be consistent.
After watching the Houston Texans get to Tom Brady last week with a lot of inside, A-gap pressures, we’re thinking teams will lean on more of that in these two upcoming games. Aaron Rodgers is obviously a more mobile QB, but the others are primarily pocket passers, and the opposing defenses will be doing everything they can to get these passers off their spot. Any time you can do that, it’s a good thing, but Greg mentions you have to work in some blind side pressure and zone dogs off the weak side to keep the protections honest. If you just come heavy inside every time, they will adjust.
Speaking of protection, which is the best o-line remaining in the playoffs? We all talked about the Cowboys, but now that they are out, it might be the Pittsburgh Steelers. They do the best job in the run game, and they have done a pretty good job of protecting Ben Roethlisberger. You could also make a case for the Patriots, and the Packers have given Rodgers some incredible time to extend plays, but we think Pittsburgh may be on top right now.
Finally, we talk about rematches. Both of these games are rematches from the regular season. Greg gave us the history of Denver’s “Revenge Tour” when he was part of the Broncos Super Bowl runs in the late 1990’s as an example of what the rematch means to the team that lost the first time around. Those teams tend to watch that game tape, learn from it, and make adjustments. A loss can always serve as some decent motivation too!Add to My RFN